The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggie volleyball’s four-game winning streak snapped at Comfort Suites Challenge

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Photo by PROVIDED
Texas A&M Volleyball

The Texas A&M volleyball team captured just one out of three games in the Comfort Suites Challenge in Iowa City, Iowa, snapping its four-game winning streak.

The Aggies (5-3) kicked off tournament play against the Iowa State Cyclones, who managed to start strong in the first and second set. The Cyclones rattled six unanswered points to take the first set 25-16. ISU started the second set off even stronger with a 9-0 run before the Aggies were able to gain any momentum. The Aggies came within five points of the Cyclones before Iowa State was able to rally to again win the second set 25-16.

Senior team captain Angela Lowak and freshman Kaitlyn Blake helped A&M rally in a competitive third set with a combined nine kills. The Aggies gained the largest lead of the game, 13-7, before finding themselves tied 21-21 with the Cyclones. Lowak finished the set with a kill, giving the Aggies the edge in the set 25-23.

The Cyclones (6-3) toppled the Aggies once more to start the fourth set. ISU managed to pull ahead to a commanding 11-2 start. Lowak and Jazzmin Babers provided leverage as the Aggies pulled to within three points at 20-17. ISU’s Samara West finished the series with her 13th kill, winning the game for the Cyclones 25-20.

“I thought the team really under-performed in just about every area,” Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli said to the media. “But I could see that they were trying to fight through it, and I was happy with that.”

Later in the day, the Aggies looked to turn the momentum around as they played Milwaukee for their first ever matchup between the programs. In the first set, both teams exchanged the lead for the majority of the match. The series was back-and-forth before the Aggies took the set with back-to-back kills, giving them a 27-15 win.

The Panthers countered by holding the lead for the entire second set. The Aggies quickly held their largest deficit at 19-8, but forced a 9-2 run. However, A&M wasn’t able to complete the comeback and lost the set 25-18.

The third set was led by the Aggies until the Panthers pulled a rally to lead 16-15. The series tied at 17 before Kaitlyn Blake finished the set with a kill to give the Aggies a 25-20 victory in the set, and a 2-1 lead in the game. Babers sparked momentum as the Panthers and Aggies tied five times in the 4th set. The Aggies pulled as far ahead as 21-14 before Milwaukee blundered the game with an attack error, ending the match at 25-17 and giving A&M its only win in the tournament.

“Jazzmin Babers, who wasn’t at her very best, is still so unstoppable and so much fun to watch,” Corbelli said to the media.

The following day, the Aggies concluded tournament play against the Iowa Hawkeyes, the tournament’s host. To start the game, both teams traded blows without having a leading margin of more than three points and a total of 13 ties. The Hawkeyes closed with an ace to take the set 25-23.

A&M held an 8-0 run in the second set to build on a 18-14 lead. Kaitlyn Blake tied the match with a kill to win the set 25-20. The Hawkeyes built a 8-5 lead with a 5-0 run before going on a further rally of 7-1 to pull away. The Aggies attempted to make a comeback in the set, but Jess Janota put down a kill to end the set 25-22.

Iowa (6-3) never trailed in the fourth set and held a commanding start. The Aggies, however, overcame a 15-9 deficit, tying the set at 21-all. Iowa finished with a kill and a block to take the set 25-22, clinching the match 3-1. This was the first time the Aggie Volleyball program was defeated by the Hawkeyes, and also snapped Corbelli’s undefeated streak against the team, previously 3-0. Corbelli said she was pleased in her returning seniors, however.

“It was really nice to have them back,” Corbelli said. “I think we just kind of expected [our play level] to get back to where it was when they went down.”
The Aggies will attempt to get back on track as they host No. 14 Colorado State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in College Station.

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